Scott Willis

Host, Reporter, Producer

I’ve always been enamored with the intimacy of radio.  It’s so personal.  It forces you to listen…and listen only.  No visual distractions.  I grew up listening to mostly top 40 radio in Detroit, with no shortage of entertaining DJ’s.  As a teenager, I discovered the area’s all news station.  I loved knowing what was going on, and the intensity with which they told stories.  I often wondered what it would be like to be the first to know what was happening, and then tell others.  Maybe that’s why I pursued a career in news. 

I would go on to serve as an intern at that all-news station, and it was amazing and maybe a little overwhelming to see what it took to put out a constant stream of news.  But something was missing.  It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I actually discovered Detroit’s public radio station at my alma mater.  What a difference!  You had time to write and tell engaging, meaningful stories, to be creative, all without the pressure to constantly crank out the news.  Quality over quantity.  That’s when I knew public radio was for me.  I was hooked.

I would hone my skills on and off for almost three years at WDET as an intern under the tutelage of a patient Assistant News Director. I produced daily stories for newscasts, but also was given the privilege of producing long-form features on topics that interested me, and that people knew very little about.  Now THAT was cool.  Right up my alley.  What budding reporter could ask for more?

I landed here in Syracuse in June 2001.  Today, I’ve come full circle, and now teach the craft to more than a dozen student reporters per week.  We work hard to choose informative stories, find the most engaging sound, and edit copy for clarity and accuracy. 

Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and little boy.  We like to take walks, travel, and read.  When I can, I’ll hop on my bike for a quick ride.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the honor and privilege of bringing WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners the news of the day during All Things Considered.  Thanks for listening.

Ways To Connect

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Jubliee Homes Executive Director Walt Dixie knows a lot still has to happen in the next three to four weeks before the community can celebrate any groundbreaking of a Price Rite supermarket at the corner of South and Bellevue Avenues.  

Scott Willis / WAER News

  About two dozen Central New Yorkers marched through downtown Syracuse Thursday to mark a milestone for older americans.  Members of the Alliance of Retired Americans and AARP joined in singing happy birthday to Medicare signed 50 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson.  Mike from Clay was also on hand.  He’s President of Syracuse Chapter 200 of the National Active Retired Federal Employees, and knows the importance of the program.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  The Americans with Disabilities Act turns 25 on Sunday, and one long-time Syracuse disability rights advocate says the ADA amounted to equal rights legislation.

Scott Willis / WAER News

  A successful grandparent mentorship program that serves hundreds of Syracuse-area first and second graders is on the budget chopping block if the U.S. Senate can’t save it.  Senator Chuck Schumer stopped at Van Duyn elementary in Syracuse today, one of at least 30 schools and family support locations served by the Senior corps program.  Schumer says the grandparents are a critical addition to schools and families…

Amari Pollard / WAER News

All hands were on deck this morning as Syracuse's Operation Walk Cargo Team unloaded and packed 16-thousand pounds of medical supplies for their upcoming service trip to Guatmela. A team of 50 people…from surgeons and nurses to cardiologists and physical therapists will make the journey south in a few weeks.  

  Director Kimberly Murray says the group hopes to treat 75 patients in need of hip and knee replacements, and complete 90 or more free surgeries. 

  The 33rd edition of Syracuse Jazzfest is approaching, and founder and executive producer Frank Malfitano says he’s always seems to set a new bar for himself.

Scott Willis / WAER News

There might finally be some movement to re-develop the long-vacant former NYNEX building in Syracuse across from city hall.  Common councilors today approved a $700,000 settlement with the owner…even though Isaac Jacobowitz of Brooklyn owes about $2 million in overdue property taxes and penalties. 

   Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Ben Walsh says now the clock is ticking…

Scott Willis / WAER News

  Eighty Syracuse-area middle school students have spent the past week gathering water and soil samples, catching insects, observing fish,  and studying mud boils in Tully to learn more about the Onondaga Lake watershed.  It’s the tenth year of Honeywell's Summer Science Week, which is organized by the Museum of Science and Technology.  Solvay 8th grader Sidney Chafee wants to go into marine biology or a related field.  She enjoyed learning about the restoration of the lake’s wetlands after decades of pollution.

Scott Willis, WAER News

  The nearly 19 million dollar expansion of Inficon’s facility in East Syracuse is entering its final stages.  Motorists passing by on I-481 have probably noticed the progress over the past several months.  President Steve Maier  says the high-tech company says the decision to expand was based on growth potential after almost 25 years at their current location.

Scott Willis / WAER News

There’s a place on Syracuse University’s South Campus where biologists are trying to figure out how woody plants behave and work. 

   Associate Professor of Biology Jason Fridley opens the gate into a garden plot that looks more like overgrown brush under a shade cloth.  It’s actually an outdoor lab for native and non-native plants.